Crow’s Nest: Trail camera Winter 2018-19

May 27, 2019

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

I just pulled the trail camera because the hayfield in front of it has grown up and the waving of the grasses in the wind was triggering the motion sensor, so the last 2,000 or so of the photos were of waving grass. But over the winter we captured some interesting photos. Wild turkeys passed by several times.

The field unexpectedly turned out to be a frequent deer bedding area. Most of the deer images were taken at nighttime, and I was surprised to see how many deer remain after last year’s outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. The deer definitely knew the camera was there, mugging at it and getting close enough that many photos were overexposed by the infrared flash.

Another surprise, but not a good one, was how regularly stray cats passed by. Two cats passed by the camera as frequently as any wild animal. Domestic cats are non-native predators in a wildlife community that did not evolve with them and cats had have a major impact on songbirds.

Another behavior the camera captured is dogs off leash. The dog below was outfitted with blaze orange, even after hunting season, but no human ever appeared in the three photos triggered by its motion. The presence of dogs affects the behavior of ground-nesting birds and other wildlife, and we only permit dogs on the preserve if they are leashed. And if your dog is roaming all over, how are you going to pick up his poop? What’s the fastest way to get dogs banned from a preserve? Fail to use your leash.

In addition to a few raccoon, rabbit and groundhog photos (none good enough to share), there were some beautiful views of a fox hunting mice.

And later in the season the camera captured the preserve manager repeatedly mowing the trails.